Grading (not the knitwear design kind) + Gamaldags + SPRING!


This past week has been a marathon of grading (of the academic variety, not the knitwear design variety) for me. When you teach 4 classes, and you do portfolio-based grading in all 4 of them, let’s just say that’s a LOT of papers to read and grade, and in not a lot of time. But I’m finished now, hooray! And I have a big chunk of the body of a sweater to show for it:

Gamaldags body

Yeah, that’s not Winter Traveller The Second – as excited as I am to knit M’s very own Winter Traveller, knitting the same sweater pattern twice in a row was just not what I needed as stress-relief during grading. So I cast on for a new sweater for myself: Gamaldags, for which I had a kit (I bought the kit back when the pattern was first released, because I loved the bright colors in the yoke!).

Here was my “pattern” for maintaining sanity while grading:
*grade 2 portfolios, knit 2 rows*, repeat until end of grading

By the time I got to the last day of grading, though, it had become more like this:
*read 1 page, knit 1 row*, repeat until end of grading

But I slogged my way through it, and now I’m done. With the grading, that is – there’s still plenty more to knit on Gamaldags, but I’m really excited about the prospect of that colorful yoke.

This has been a seriously challenging academic year for me, between all of the issues with my former department, and getting M set up in a new school and ourselves moved into a new house and our old house sold – goodness gracious, has it been hard! But we’re finally getting a bit more settled in at our new house, and our old house is on the way to closing, so we’ve almost made it through.

Spring has finally arrived here in ROC, and it is magical as always. The flowering trees here make Spring an explosion of happy colors, and the cherry trees in particular are just sheer joy. My daughter calls them “confetti trees”, which is so very apt.

So happy to be with the “confetti trees”! (aka “cherry trees”)

We had the great thrill of discovering that we have some of our own flowering trees here at our new house – I spotted pink buds the other night, and a few of them have opened up today, so I took some pictures and asked the Internet to help me identify them:

Probably crabapple?

Probably Crabapple?

Probably Crabapple?

The consensus seems to be “crabapple”, which is fine by me! (Though I think M might be disappointed that they aren’t “confetti trees”). The flowering trees are absolutely my favorite part of living in ROC in the Springtime, and I’m just utterly thrilled that we have some of our very own now. This house just couldn’t be more perfect for us.

I still have work to do, even though I’m done with grading, so I’d best get back to that, but I’ll leave y’all with these lovely little forget-me-nots from our backyard:

Teensy blue flowers in our backyard

Happy Spring, everyone!


Finished! Winter Traveler (the first)

All finished: Winter Traveler (the first, since M was so darned cute in mine that I’m knitting a second one for her!)

As promised in my previous post: I finished my Winter Traveler sweater, and here’s a post about it!

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Winter Traveler, by Julia Farwell-Clay
Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool (in brown and hot pink)
Needles: size 8
Time to knit: about a month and a half

I never quite fell in love with intarsia, and boy oh boy were there a lot of ends to weave in when all was said and done, but I’m really tickled with how it turned out. I made some modifications, most obviously in terms of the fit (it’s much closer fitting, because I knit the 42″ size but at a gauge that gave me more like a 34″ sweater) and the neckline (I did a folded 1×1 rib neckline instead of the pattern’s funnel neck):

Closeup of Neckline

These first two photos were taken by me (using the timer), but after that, I had my daughter help me with photos this time, which turned out better than I expected! There were plenty of blurry ones, and ones with funky angles, but quite a few good shots, too! She mostly wanted to take “silly” pictures of me:

I asked M to help me take pictures, but she only wanted to take “silly” ones!

She kept making me laugh!

mama laughing while M takes pictures

She wanted to try taking a picture from above, with me on the ground and her up on the deck:

She also took some looking down on me from the deck. I was a little nervous letting her use my real camera, but she was surprisingly careful with it!

And then we swapped position:

From below

Didn’t she do a great job? One last photo from M:

A closeup, taken by M

So, how about that “the first” in the title of this post? Well, when I finished weaving in the ends yesterday afternoon, M asked if she could try the sweater on, and, well, it was pretty much the cutest thing ever:

As soon as I wove in the last end on my Winter Traveler sweater, M asked to put it on. OMG, it’s so cute on her! Except for the sleeves being too long (because mama has monkey arms), it’s the perfect sort of slouchy sweater on her. I’m really tempted to m

Except for the sleeves being too long (because mama has monkey arms!), it’s the perfect sort of slouchy sweater on her! It’s not even THAT much of a tunic on her, because she’s all torso in a way that I am most definitely not.

Seriously, the cuteness! I *might* have enough Eco Wool left over to knit her one of her own.

Seriously, she was just beyond cute in it. And she asked ever so sweetly if I could make her one just like it, the same size and everything, just shorter sleeves. And I checked my stash, and I did in fact have one more skein of the brown Eco Wool (and still plenty left over of the hot pink skein, too), so…it’s happening:

It’s happening. Winter Traveler, the second, for M.

Oh, kiddo, mama wants to be a selfish knitter and make more mama-sweaters this summer, but you’re just so darned cute, and such an appreciative knitwear recipient, you win every time.

things i make WITH maddy: knitting needles!


Maddy and I did a special project today while daddy was over at Old House, taking advantage of the weather FINALLY cooperating enough to do the remaining exterior painting that the bank is requiring before our buyers can actually buy it.

This was our project for the afternoon (while A went over to Old House to do a bit more exterior painting now that the weather is cooperating!)

Melanie Falick’s “Kids Knitting” book is the one I learned to knit from when I was a kid, and I passed my copy down to M. She recently pulled it off her bookshelf, and we read some of it together, and she decided that we should make ourselves some knitting needles just like the ones in the book, so we got the supplies (fimo clay and 3/16″ dowels) yesterday so that we’d be ready to make them today!

Rolling the FIMO clay.
Rolling the fimo clay

Big balls and tiny balls, ready to make some knitting-needle ends!
Big balls and tiny balls, ready to be rolled together

Ready to bake!
Read to bake!

After baking

Her space-shuttle pencil sharpener helped us make the needle tips.
Sharpening the tips (with her space shuttle pencil sharpener!)

Sanding them smooth.
Sanding them smooth (we oiled them after this, too)

All finished! (We oiled the dowels after sharpening and sanding them, and then glued the polka-dot ends onto them!)
All finished!

Maddy says the ones with the blue base are mine!
Maddy told me that the blue-based ones were mine!

I haven’t sized them with my needle gauge, but they look like they’re somewhere around size 7 or size 8. I don’t know if I’ll ever knit with these (I’m not much of a “knitting on straights” person, period) but it was a fun afternoon project with my kiddo!

(P.S. I also finished weaving in the ends on Winter Traveler this afternoon, so expect a post about that soon!)

progress on Winter Traveler! (and a Winter that will not end)

Taking progress photos of Winter Traveler during a random snowstorm. It was sunny two minutes later!

Last night, I finished the body of my Winter Traveler sweater, so today, during a random snowstorm (because isn’t that what you expect on April 8th?), I took some photos of it. I’m really happy with how it’s turning out; it’s a big snugger than the one in the pattern, because I’m using Cascade Eco Wool (which has a smaller gauge) and deliberately not going up as many sizes as I’d need to in order to get the amount of ease called for in the pattern. I’m slightly wishing that I had gone just a touch bigger, but I also know I’ll get a bit of expansion during blocking, so I think it’ll be fine.

Done with the body on my Winter Traveler! (I really need to find a better way to taking pictures than balancing the camera on the deck railing, because crouching to get sweaters into frame is super awkward!)

I haven’t yet come up with a good system for taking knitting pictures in the new house; right now I’m balancing the camera on our deck railing, but that means I have to crouch to get the sweater in the frame, and that’s pretty awkward! (And a bit hard on my knees!). I used to have a Gorillapod, which was great for this sort of thing, but I can’t find it anywhere. Alas.

Winter Traveler Progress photo

I’m still really loving the folded ribbed neckline, and the brown + hot pink color combination. Next up, winding up the second skein of brown Eco Wool (which will take forever…those skeins have ~470 yards!) so that I can knit the sleeves. Without the intarsia to slow me down (and force me to knit flat), I think I’ll probably fly through the sleeve knitting – and with the way the weather’s been, it may well still be sweater weather by the time I finish! I doubt I’ll finish it by this coming Thursday, but if I do, it’ll be a lovely birthday present to myself!

I went to a conference and came home with a cowl


Well, I didn’t get much work-work done while I was away at my conference, but I did do a lot of knitting. (Turns out that I get motion sick enough on planes that I can’t read papers, and get brain-fried enough from 3 straight days filled with workshops and presentations and meeting awesome people that knitting is about ALL I could manage!)

So here, I present: My CCCC 2018 Cowl!

Finished Willow Cowl #3

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Willow Cowl
Yarn: Mystery deep blue sock yarn – it came in a GMDS package awhile back, that much I know, but I lost the label so I don’t know anything more about it!
Needles: Size 5 rosewood circulars (these have become my “Willow Cowl Needles”)
Time to knit: 5 days!

I cast on while on the flight to the conference, and then ended up knitting during several sessions (stopping to take notes when I wanted/needed to, but I tend to be an “absorb with my ears and then process later” sort of person for the most part):

Knitting during a panel presentation.

I made a new knitting friend – one of my fellow presenters for the workshop I was part of is also a knitter so we became Ravelry buddies during the conference!

Showing off the construction

I just adore how this cowl looks, and I find it so fascinating the way the long tube folds on itself with those eyelet mesh bands.

From above

I stepped out on our deck to take Real Camera pictures of the cowl today – we have a deck! It’s so lovely! I’m still getting used to New House, but it’s a really great house…we just have to get Old House sold now, and keep unpacking. It’s no fun at all to be in the middle of a move while also in the middle of a very busy semester, but hopefully I can keep on hanging on and not deprive my students TOO much.

Snuggled up

I hope all of my fellow Northern folks are staying warm while we wait for Spring to actually arrive! Have a lovely Equinox this week, everyone!

Octopus Yoke goes to Knitting Guild, and I start a new sweater


I’m about to head out to Kansas City for the 2018 CCCC Convention, presenting in one of the Wednesday afternoon workshops (AW.12, if anyone reading this is also headed to 4C’s!) and this year the weather isn’t going to thwart me! (Oh hey, I should actually weave in the ends and sew a zipper on that sweater I was wearing in that post last year!). Last night, as our last mama-daughter activity before I’m away for 5 days, M came with me to Knitting Guild so that she could Show & Tell her Octopus Yoke sweater.

She came to Knitting Guild with me tonight to do Show&Tell with her sweater. I can’t find her in-progress scarf (MOVING SUCKS, Y’ALL!), so I hastily cast on a new one on the only empty circulars I could find using yarn that was in a desk drawer. She’s onl

Because everything is still a crazy mess due to the move, I couldn’t find her knitting bag (of course, I found it first thing after we got home!), so I hastily cast on a new project for her using a lighter color green of the same yarn (which I found in a desk drawer) and the only set of unoccupied needles I could find, which were circulars. She’d never knit on circulars before, only straights, but she took to it like a champ, and knit 6 full rows of garter stitch!

She didn’t even want to stop knitting while we waited in line for Show&Tell, so I held her yarn for her!

She was so into her knitting that she didn’t even want to stop when it was time to stand in line for Show & Tell, so I held her yarn for her so she could knit standing up. She’s such a little pro!

Knitting together at Guild. She knit 6 rows of garter stitch and is getting quite good!

It was really nice to get to spend a little bit of time knitting together with M and my friends before I head out of town for a few days. That project I’m working on is my new sweater, by the way…a Winter Traveller in brown and hot pink Cascade Eco Wool. When I finished M’s sweater, I wanted to cast on for something new for me, and I decided I would knit the sweater in my queue whose yarn I could find first, and my Eco Wool bin was the first bin I found, so here we go! It’s my first intarsia project since I first started knitting, and I had to rip and reknit a couple of times when I started the “intarsia in the round” section because it looked like a hot mess, but I’ve got it working now and I’m so excited about it!

Progress on Winter Traveler. I’m loving the hot pink + brown combo!

It’s actually quite a bit further along now than in this picture (I’ve got the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and am knitting down the body now), but you can get a good sense of how the pink and brown work together from this shot. I’m loving it so much!

The pink of the intarsia snowflake matches the pink of my cowl. I’m consistent - it’s pretty much the only “pink” color I like!

I got a kick out of the fact that the pink of the Nordic Star perfectly matched the pink cowl I was wearing one day when I was knitting it…I’m consistent! It’s pretty much the only pink I’ll wear, but I wear it quite a lot these days.

So many ends! Intarsia is crazy but this sweater is gonna be awesome.

Intarsia means having SO MANY bits of working yarn, but I’m trying to just roll with it instead of letting it drive me crazy. I’m not bringing this project with me to Kansas City, alas – just too big and bulky to be a good travel knit, so I’ve got yarn and needles packed to make another Willow Cowl if I get any time for knitting while I’m away. (I may not – I have an absolutely ridiculous amount of feedback to be giving on student work while I’m away!)

things I make for Maddy: Octopus Yoke!


Hi! I’m back from the other side of our move with a finished project!

Octopus Yoke closeup!

Not finished by the end of January like I planned (moving is hard, it turns out!) but at least while it’s still chilly enough for a sweater to be useful. And it’s a good thing, because due to a combination of tighter-than-swatch gauge (hi, moving stress!) and bigger-than-measured kiddo (hi, growth spurt!) the sweater is a bit on the snug side. But it fits for now, and it looks adorable on her.

Project Details:
Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: From my brain!
Yarn: Cascade 220 from stash
Needles: Size 7
Time to knit: About 2 months, total (and there was a move in the middle of that!)

Octopus Yoke, full length

This kiddo has a LONG torso! (Just like her daddy.) I swear, the body of her sweater is only about an inch shorter than I knit for my own sweaters. She is going to tower over me by the time she’s 10, I think!

Octopus Yoke, over the shoulder

I love the way the contrast tips of the ribbing turned out – that detail was a request that M made, and she’s got good design sense!

Octopus Yoke, back view

Here it is from the back. Trying to get those mirrored octopuses was a bit of a brain-twister, design-wise, and I had to add those “bubbles” because the float situation was just too crazy otherwise. I think that the top two tentacles could be a little more distinct – they kind of blur together when they get close to the mantle in a weird way. Ah well, it looks pretty darned good, and M is delighted with it, so we’ll call it a win!

I’ll close with this shot of my little model! Isn’t she lovely?

Octopus Yoke with M as model